Description

Q4 2017, Spain, using RX 560 GPU until next gen ITX cards are released. Not willing to wait for budget motherboards for Intel 8th gen. Ryzen refresh could be an option, but also would require waiting a few more months.

Modded a crude bottom panel replacement to increase airflow. The AP181 fan technically fits the case, but blocks the GPU. It could be used if GPU's shroud and fan were removed, leaving the heatsink exposed, but at this point it would be better to simply use an Accelero Mono PLUS. The XT140 slim fan fits well and really helps the airflow and temps.

Edit: After 6 months of use, the homemade bottom panel I made using a fine aluminium mesh from a €1 strainer is keeping large dust particles out (lint, pet hair), however it does not prevent small particles of getting in. Removing the PSU is needed in order to clean the motherboard and CPU Cooler.

CPU: €50 price difference between i5 8600K and this locked i7 8700. The i5 8400 would only make sense with a proper motherboard.

CPU Cooler: Fits nicely and has the reversible fan, so it pushes air from the CPU into the PSU. Installation could be easier.

Motherboard: Glad to see a Gigabyte motherboard that's not terrible. A real improvement from the Z270N model, except for Audio, which was sadly downgraded.

RAM: Thanks to Black Friday's discounts, managed to pay only double of last year's price! Sad.

SSD: Discounted since MX500 will release in a couple months, this 1TB m.2 will be my only storage. I really dislike the noise from mechanical HDs.

GPU: Can't find a RX 570 ITX in stock, no news of Vega Nano, so I decided to wait for next gen. The RX 560 can run half of my game library on 1080p 75hz Freesync until I upgrade, probably next year.

Case: Tiny and beautiful. Difficult to build in it, it's begging for a revision. Terrible airflow, several questionable design choices. I love it but can't recommend it. Buy only if you know what you are getting into. I had fun modding the bottom panel.

PSU: ATX, semi modular and fan is always on, exactly what I needed since I'm using PSU as the case exhaust, pulling air from the CPU.

Case Fan: Was planning on using the Silverstone AP181 at the bottom, modding the GPU, but in the end went with the CRYORIG XT140 slim fan. The XT140 is the better fit, requires no GPU mod and would help even without the panel mod, as long as there is only m.2 storage.

Monitors: Already had those, may upgrade with GPU in the future.

I'm happy with the build, temps and noise level are adequate, looks great and fits my small desk. Building ITX is a blast.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Great cooler for ITX, requires attention with RAM and Case choices for clearance. The fan is reversible. Mounting process is terrible, could use a revision.

Motherboard

A decent improvement over the Z270N model, sadly the audio was apparently downgraded.

Video Card

I was expecting this card to hold me over until prices of more powerful models came back to normal or the next gen was released, however this card surprised me - it's fairly good for 40-75FPS FreeSync on 1080p.

I'm in no rush to replace it as it can play most of the games in my library with little to no compromise.

Case

This Case could use a revision. It's beautiful, however lacks dust filters and the option for a bottom 120/140mm fan instead of a SSD and HD. Other Cooltek / Jonsbo models have this option.

With M.2 SSDs getting more and more common for ITX motherboards, an updated bottom panel would be great.

Power Supply

A good and reliable PSU as far as I can tell. Very loud click noise when turning the PC on and off - not talking about the on/off switch at the back of the PSU, noise present on normal power cycle - which I've been told is normal, however had not experienced with other PSU models.

Monitor

Surprisingly good for the price. Took some fine tuning to get the best possible image and colours. DVI only, so beware of new gen GPUs connectivity options.

Using as second monitor for video reproduction and internet browsing, I'm pleased.

Monitor

Budget 1080p IPS FreeSync 40-75hz (through HDMI) with awful IPS glow. Looks ok after a long fine tuning process. You get what you pay for.

Takes forever to turn on and off. Control leaver is terrible. Drivers need to be forced manually in Windows 10. Shares software with LG models that have speakers, so Windows 10 tries to output audio to it. Overall it's not a great alternative to TN and VA monitors on the same price range.

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Comments

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

Congrualtions! I am using 8700 to in my HTPC build. Can you run intel extreme utility to stress test the cpu for a short time to see what max package power you get there and in hw monitor? Have you changed any thing in bios settings such as voltage?

Here is mine https://imgur.com/b2Clak9

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you. Nice one you got there too, monster GPU.

I'll try to run it along the final benches towards the end of the month, when I get a break from work. I disabled MCE and I'm running the PC on balanced power setting, since all I got atm is the RX 560. CPU is not undervolted yet, but I'm really interested.

So far, max temp was high 60s on demanding gaming, both CPU and GPU. Crucial software says SSD was at 45C. Only noticeable noise is the constant fan spin, very low, only when there is no music or games on and the room is silent. Room temp will be 15C higher during summer, so I'm expecting a real difference then.

  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

So I finally got around to it, max package power was 54w and max temp was 67C. No MCE and -0.05V offset. I'm adding pictures now.

  • 26 months ago
  • 2 points

Did you upgrade your bios to the new F3b version? It updates "CPU Microcode". Just wanted to know if anyone with this motherboard has done the update yet and see any performance decrease?

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Not yet, work is crazy this month for me, and I'm also waiting on stability confirmation. There are so many issues with the first security patches that it's hard to say if it's safe to apply them right away. The performance decrease seems to be unavoidable, unfortunately. I don't like the idea of delaying critical patches and will apply the updates as soon as possible.